Monday, August 29

Or is she really? Yes, our Daisy is a total peach of a cat, appreciated even by people who usually can't stand felines. I wish I had a dollar for everyone who has said, "I don't generally like cats, but if I could get a cat just like yours I would." We love her dearly and feel blessed by her presence in our house. However...

Lately there have been some signs that maybe all is not going so well with our beloved friend. I woke up to a few realizations. At about age 13 or so (we got her from a shelter so had to guess her age) Daisy is now considered a "Senior" cat. I accordingly changed her diet, hoping that the problems would go away. They lessened, but are still in evidence, leading me to the other realization: I have to take her to the Vet. I don't balk at that, but wonder what it may lead to.

Because an old friend of mine recently called to talk over HER cat's health issues with me. Seems "Georgie-Cat" has some serious stuff going on that has already cost several hundreds of dollars to diagnose. Now my friend is faced with some tough decisions. The cat could live for a few more years, although he is on the old side, but only if they spend thousands of dollars (a year) on medication plus give him a daily injection. Both my friend and her spouse are needle-phobics who get faint at the sight of blood. Not to mention the fact that they are not wealthy. They love their cat but are torn with indecision about what to do. It reminded me that I was once chatting to a frail older lady manning the cash register at our local Trader Joe's and she admitted to me that, being on a small fixed income as she was, she had had to take this job to finance her cat's vet bills and medications. Somehow, seeing her hand trembling as she lifted the 16 oz can of chick peas to the scanner, I felt that this was perhaps not right.

But what do you do? When do you decide to pull the plug on expensive treatment for the family pet? Is one a heartless Mengele for even considering the options, or a sentimental fool for considering pouring thousands of dollars into healthcare for an elderly feline when people are dying of hunger in other parts of the world? Is it ultimately kinder to the animal to not prolong its life unnaturally or is it just more comfortable for the bank balance? It feels wrong to put a limit on what you would pay to help a "family member" who needs health care, but on the other hand, where does it end?

I'm hoping that at least this time, all Daisy needs is a check-up with mild "tune-up": maybe a simple blood test, some vitamins, a course of pills, something like that. I don't want to decide if I am going to have to put a price limit on our love. At least, not yet.

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